Dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.)
The fruits of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) are sweet berries with a sugar content of more than 50%. The origin of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is supposedly North Africa or Middle East. In North Africa and in the Middle East the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a staple food that can be produced easily under unfavorable natural and economic conditions. Normally, this palm is cultivated for subsistence/local markets on small holder farms along with other crops. Because of its high nutritional value, great yields and its long life (yielding up to 100 years) the date palm was already mentioned as the “tree of life” in the Bible.
Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated around Iraq, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians used the fruits to make date wine, and ate them at harvest.